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Reading List - 2010

Josh Daniels "jd83"
 
The Reader (Movie Tie-in Edition) (Vintage International)
The Reader (Movie Tie-in Edition) (Vintage International)
"Pretty short but very disturbing - almost wish I hadn't read it.  The piece about her being illiterate was obvious from the get go, but I really liked the descriptions of him coming of age and awareness of his emotions, as well as how he was affected by the relationship throughout his life."
Mrs. Bridge: A Novel
Mrs. Bridge: A Novel
"Interesting character portrait of a naive housewife from the 1930's.  The style of the book is what sets is apart - very short chapters that weave a story together from short snapshots."
Mr. Bridge
Mr. Bridge
"This is the "EPOV" to Mrs Bridge, as my wife would put it.  Learn some character traits about the husband that you didn't see from her POV (tight-___, bigot, etc) and also learn he didn't cheat but was actually somewhat naive himself.  Interesting overall but kind of had to power through some parts."
The Farmer's Daughter
The Farmer's Daughter
"Loved these three stories.  The more I read Harrison, the more I like.  Title story was about a 15 yo girl growing up in isolation - he always ties in the outdoors & sex into his stories. Second story was Brown Dog, an interesting character who leads a simple life & loves the land (but a bit oblivious).  The 3rd is like vampire fan fiction - guy bitten by wolf gets monstrous libido.  Entertaining."
The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium )
The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium )
"Another suspenseful read about Salander and Blomkquist, although I didn't feel as though the world must stop until I finish it like I did w/the first one.  Some surprising learnings about Salander and her history. Suspense really kept picking up all the way to the last sentence."
As I Lay Dying (Modern Library 100 Best Novels)
As I Lay Dying (Modern Library 100 Best Novels)
"Not EASY to read, but not too bad b/c it's short.  Each short chapter is told from a different character's perspective as the family transports Addie's body to her hometown for burial.  Tragic & original w/the stream of consciousness writing."
The Great Santini: A Novel
The Great Santini: A Novel
"The story of Bull Meacham, a Marine fighter pilot, and his family had well-drawn characters & good pacing.  Great picture of the family dynamics with father/son & husband/wife with a "bull".  However, a little over-written and overly dramatic in parts had me rolling my eyes."
The Big Rock Candy Mountain (Contemporary American Fiction)
The Big Rock Candy Mountain (Contemporary American Fiction)
"Kind of pushed through this, although there were moments that it sucked me in.  I didn't think the characters were drawn very deeply & parts felt very over-written - and not all that interesting.  Feel like Stegner should be in my wheelehouse but this was flat."
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millennium Trilogy)
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millennium Trilogy)
"Once again, totally engrossing.  Not as many shockers as the other two, esp given all the press with the release of the book, but I could not put it down."
Shadow Tag: A Novel
Shadow Tag: A Novel
"I think it was an interesting concept that I was wrapped up in to in the beginning, but fell off once we knew how Irene was using the diaries.  Probably not worth a re-read, but I liked it."
Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood
Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood
"Pretty funny & honest account of the emotions a father has during the early months of a child's life, esp the first one."
A Reliable Wife
A Reliable Wife
"First third of this book drew me in, but it got a little boring & predictable once you discover that Antonio & the wife are lovers."
Black Water Rising: A Novel
Black Water Rising: A Novel
"Feel like I got suckered a little bit by all of the award nominations listed on the book's cover.  It drew me in at times, but I found myself annoyed most of the time at the 'coincedences' & kind of thin character development.  LA Times, you steered me wrong."
The Given Day  (Coughlin, Book 1)
The Given Day (Coughlin, Book 1)
"I really enjoyed this one - realistic look into what could have happened in some peoples' lives during the events after WWI in Boston.  Uncomfortable remembering what race relations & labor conditions were like back then.  Really enjoyed the characters of Danny, Luther, Nora, & Babe Ruth, and loved hating McKenna.  Also liked the family dynamic in the Coughlins juxtaposed w/class distinctions."
Brooklyn: A Novel
Brooklyn: A Novel
"This is a short book & I was sucked into it.  A lot of reviewers seemed to think it was slow or "too easy" for Elise, but I was really on edge over the last 100 pgs to see what she would decide.  Would highly recommend it - it grows/builds as you read & come to know her character."
Netherland (Vintage Contemporaries)
Netherland (Vintage Contemporaries)
"There was an undercurrent of sadness when I read this book.  But I ended up being surprised at the hope that came through towards the end for Hans & his wife.  I also related to his conservative nature & how understanding of life's situations sometimes does not dawn until much later, like his relationship w/his mother.  Was a moving book."
Freedom
Freedom
"Very absorbing story of Richard & Patty Bergland & their friend Richard.  I got very absorbed into each section of the book & liked that MN was worked into it.  Thought provoking work on the way family traits are handed down & how they influence our interactions w/our own families.  Liked everything except was kind of unsatisfied by the end."
The Sea
The Sea
"Story of Max, a recent widower who moves into a boarding house in the town his family vacationed at as a child.  Max's musings drift from childhood memories to memories of his wife to the present.  The writing is nothing short of beautiful in several parts, even when describing mundane details.  This helps offset the slow-moving plot (or lack thereof)."
The Man From St. Petersburg
The Man From St. Petersburg
"Quick paced story on events leading to WWI, but it was not very believable.  Above the 1/2 way point on entertainment factor, but kind of reading equivalent of watching Dukes of Hazzard re-runs or something less challenging.  Probably my least favorite Follett book I've read."
Her Fearful Symmetry
Her Fearful Symmetry
"Book on tape. A story about ghosts and growing up as a twin that ended up being very predictable (Elsa makes decision we both predicted about an hour ahead of time). Was one where you wish it was real book so you could skim whole 2nd half."
One Hundred Years of Solitude (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)
One Hundred Years of Solitude (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)
"Entertaining though slightly hard to follow since the names get re-used so much. Expectations were high since it's one of 100 best so was slightly underwhelmed, but extremely creative story that takes you down several well developed fantastical trails. "magical realism" is what I have sine read as description, which seems to fit."
The Swan Thieves
The Swan Thieves
"Book on tape - we both loved Historian but got seriously annoyed with this, although 1st half was good. It got bogged down w/ extraneous detail and the character of Mary made both of us gag. Liked the history of art and got into the relationships we learn about from the letters, but overall feeling of annoyance as we finished. Andrew also became a big sap, which didn't help."
The Sound and the Fury: The Corrected Text
The Sound and the Fury: The Corrected Text